Academic scholarships and grants have long helped families defray the cost of sending child to college.
The application process for a scholarship can be involved. As a result, some people may be tempted to employ a scholarship service to help with the process. This however, is not necessarily the best route to take. You could end up throwing money away for work that you are required to do yourself. And, while some scholarship services are legitimate businesses, many others are simply scam artists.
A scholarship service may use several pitches as a way to entice people to its hire its services. Here are some of the ones you should watch out for:
A guaranteed scholarship is a flat-out scam. Scholarships awards are competitive in nature and generally given to individuals that meet an academic criteria or with the right qualifications.
A service may claim it has scholarship information not readily available anywhere else. Don’t believe it. Scholarship information is plentiful — and free. It can be found at school and public libraries, at government offices and on the World Wide Web.
A scholarship scam will likely ask for your pay an application fee. Don’t do it. Legitimate scholarship services usually don’t charge a fee. And never give your credit card number out to pay for a scholarship application fee.
Some scams promise to do all the application work for a scholarship. But fact is scholarships and grants require that you fill out the forms yourself.
Scholarships do not work like a sweepstakes. A claim that you’ve been specially singled out for an award or that you’re a “finalist” for a scholarship is false. Scholarships don’t seek out candidates. You have to go out and apply for them.
Source: Better Business Bureau; U.S. Department of Education
Edited and compiled by Chuck Myers.
© 2006, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.